Summary: Sermon titled inspired by a collection of writings and sermons by AW Tozer, used in preperation for revival services this past April.
Intro: You know, in spite of the crazy weather we have had over the last few weeks, I live this time of year.
Flowers blooming, longer days, getting to play t-ball with my son and practicing softball with my daughter.
Not to mention all of the great sporting events during this time of year.
You go from March Madness into the Masters Golf Tournament and then quickly into Major League baseball; and let’s not forget NASCAR…it is hard to beat the springtime isn’t it?
What I love more than anything though is what God is doing in our church and in our community.
I really do think that He has big plans for us and is working on doing something great because He is a great God.
And that takes me to what excites me most about this time of the year, the fact that we are going to be holding revival services in just a few weeks.
Our leaders are two of my best friends in the world, Eric Hattaway from French Corner Baptist in Ponchatoula preaching for us and Mitch Rousse from Calvary Baptist in Longview, TX leading us in worship.
They have been seeking God for a message for us, and if we are in tune with His Spirit…there is no doubt that we are going to hear that message and respond in obedience.
When I speak this morning about revival, as you will see, I’m not simply referring to a week of extra worship services and a guest preacher…I’m talking about a revival in the hearts and lives of God’s people, an awakening of the Spirit of God in us that burns into our community and beyond.
Although revival is a movement of God, and it is really nothing that we can actually schedule to take place…we can do our part by praying for God to pay us a visit and do a miraculous work in us and through us, and for His spirit to reach into our community changing lives through the Gospel of Christ.
Before revival can begin, we have to establish where we are in terms of spiritual need, and then decide if revival is what we truly want and more importantly, what we need.
So today, I want to look at a passage of scripture that I do believe deals with the subject of revival, and borrowing the title from an AW Tozer book, I want us to decide on Rut, Rot or Revival.
Turn to Ezekiel 37 (give a moment, and then “blow dust” off of it).
Let’s face it, Ezekiel is not usually on our must read list for books of the Bible, in fact, preparing for this message was the first time in a while that I have opened it up.
It was written by Ezekiel who was a Jewish prophet and priest, but had been exiled to Babylon around 597 BC.
This book came out of his 23 year ministry of preaching to the exiles of Judah and the remnant left in Jerusalem who had lost focus of God’s covenant with them
Our chapter this morning is a vision that He received from God and it is a classic picture of God’s ability to breathe new life into the spiritually dead.
Read text, Eze 37:1-10 and pray.
AW Tozer is probably the premier author, pastor, spiritual leader and model Christian of the 20th century.
Long before Max Lucado, Charles Swindoll or even Rick Warren were even a thought, AW Tozer was penning works that less than 100 years later are spiritual classics.
He has been credited with nearly 100 books and booklets, the most famous of which is The Pursuit of God, but one of the most intriguing I think is called “Rut, Rot or Revival.”
It is in this book that Tozer makes the very bold statement, “What is the present condition of the evangelical church? The bulk of Christians are asleep.”
From there he begins a dialogue that takes a different route than what we are taking today, but his title does fit into our passage today.
Individual Christians as well as the Christian church are currently in one of three stages, and they are the ones who have a choice in which stage they are in.
Today I want to look at each of them, evaluate them, and after evaluating where we are as individuals and as a church…hopefully move forward to where God desires for us to be.
Let’s look at those 3 places now….
First of all;
1. We can choose to be in a rut
In our text, this is the valley that is spoken of by Ezekiel.
Read vs. 1.
We need to evaluate what is meant by a valley here.
Often when we consider a valley, we think of the plush and often very green area that can be found growing around the bottom of the mountain ranges…this is not the valley being spoken of in our passage.